As this little series of morceaux continues to focus upon our celebration of the Mass, we’ve finally arrived to consider its start. Most people probably think that the procession is what begins Mass. That’s not quite true. The “rules” about proper celebration of the Eucharist require the ministers and assembly to begin, even before the procession, with private prayer.
What I try to do, even if I only have a moment or two for it, is to focus my attention on what I’m about to do. This means calling to mind, first of all, that we’re about to offer to God the most precious gift: the sacrifice that His own Son made for the salvation of the world. This helps put me in the right frame of mind.
Next, I try to consciously recall the intentions that I wish to remember at Mass. The grace that God offers in the Eucharist is infinite, but during the worship we actually have the opportunity to apply that grace to benefit certain persons or situations. For example, I try to remember all of the persons who have asked for me to pray for them, or who I know really need the blessings of God. I try to remember the most important intentions of our Church, world, nation, and local community. I almost always include prayers for my close friends and family. If there is an official, published intention for the Mass, of course I include that one too.
Do you spend a little time before Mass deciding upon the “beneficiaries” of your prayer? I heartily recommend it: I find it makes what we do at Mass a lot more meaningful.